Throwback…”Grieving and Rejoicing on the SS Joy”

Last years post…it feels like Groundhog Day.

“Grieving…and Rejoicing… on the S.S. Joy”

Most of my teachers friends will be posting pictures this week of vacation photos and fun getaways. I’ll admit it was hard yesterday hearing of all the fun things that were planned… and WELL-deserved. Then inevitably I would be asked if I had anything planned.

My response?

“Well, I have to have my vision checked Tuesday, Wednesday my brain and skull are being checked for metastasis with a brain scan at stonybrook, and Thursday I am having blood drawn to check if I’m neutropenic from this third round of 21 days straight of chemo. Good times!”

I grieve for the vacations of the past. Oh, we never went anywhere, but I didn’t have to worry about cancer.

I am also grieving for Morgan. I sent her coach a text this week thanking him for his part in the secret swim fundraiser. She was a talented swimmer. All three of my kids swam. They would glide effortlessly in the water, flip and continue to swim lap after lap… just a smooth rhythm. I would sit and watch in awe, as I can only hold my nose and doggie paddle. I made dear friends there, “swim sisters”, and we would talk about our lives, children, and celebrate their accomplishments. Cancer took that from us. It’s just too far to drive, and now that we’ve been out of the routine, I can’t see us getting back into it anytime soon.

There’s a lot of grief that happens with cancer. You grieve for the food and wine you used to drink. You grieve for the carefree days when you never thought about how badly you want to live. You grieve for your children, that now they are known as the kids whose mom has cancer. You grieve for your husband, who hasn’t had his fun and carefree wife in months. You grieve for your parents, who had to sit and hear a doctor say their daughter would die in a year or two. (Screw her… and not gonna happen, mom and dad.)

But here is the rejoice part.

Rejoice means to be “full of joy.”

We are slowly finding our joy again.

Filling up our cups.

Morgan meditated with her social worker yesterday. She told me she had a picnic on a mountaintop. She saw Gigi, my beloved nanny. She said Gigi told her she would see her again, and that she has me in her hands.

I never told morgan about me hearing nanny say, “We’ve got you, doll” during my reiki. I think Nanny and poppa have all of us…along with God.

Morgan is also going to try out a dance class at a local church today. I’ve found her spinning in circles lately. So today, she will go be with friends and dance… and hopefully find her joy again. She hasn’t really wanted to be away from me. It’s time to push her out of the nest a bit to test out her new wings. She won’t swim, but she will fly.

Tonight we will go to my niece Julia’s birthday. Being around my crazy family brings me joy. I’ll tell my family all about the amazing support I’ve gotten this week. The bracelets, the swim team, my school district than ran out of bracelets and had to order more, the school to the east two towns over that collected money for us.

They will make fun of my stamping of feet when I got my shot, then hug me. Julia likes to smack her butt at me. I’ve videotaped me smacking my own ass and sent it to her. Now that the shots were given in my abdomen this week… Julia and I will have a lot of butt slapping going on. (I may even bring my COWBELL.)

So yes, we’ve grieved… and will probably continue to grieve the little things. In order to heal, I need to grieve everything, and then forgive and move on. I’m working on it.

But grief isn’t the tidal wave that is used to be. It will still come…

but instead of the tidal wave that pulls you under and you can’t breathe, it will come in waves, sometimes even little ripples.

I’m now climbing into my lifeboat called the S.S. Joy…. and I’m the captain of this ship. I’ll navigate through the stormy seas with my crew, hold on to each other when we get tossed about, and know that sunny and calm days always follow the storm.

The S.S. Joy.

It will keep us afloat for a long, long time.

Re-joice. Re-joy.

Find the joy again.

Yes, there is cancer in my body… for now.

But I will refill my body with so much joy, there won’t be any room for the cancer anymore. It will either leave my body, or decide to switch teams and join my joy cells.

So this spring break, I’ll be on my own ship, taking on new passengers as I convince my cancer cells to hop out of the big waves into my S.S. Joy. We may not serve alcohol and seven course meals…. but we’ve got filtered water, organic food, dancing, hugging, and ass slapping.

I am cured.

I am cured.

I am cured.


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